Aviation: East African Carrier, Air Tanzania Eyes West Africa Expansion, To Commence Flight Operations To Nigeria and Ghana in 2023

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East African Carrier, Air Tanzania has hinted that it will expand its flight operations into Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa in 2023, thereby increasing its route network in Africa.

According to simpleflying.com, having recently resumed flights to China and South Africa, which had been cancelled due to the COVID pandemic, Tanzania’s state-run Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) wants to start flying to Nigeria and Ghana next year, in an effort to broaden its reach across Africa.

The airline currently does not fly to destinations in West Africa, with the majority of its flights being within East Africa and a few to India, China, and South Africa. The national carrier also expects to launch flights to Goma and Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo around the same time while improving some local routes.

Ladislaus Matindi, the Managing Director of ATCL, confirmed this during a tour of ticket agent Skylink. According to Matindi, ATCL wants to enhance services, including flight reliability and punctuality, while also launching new international and African destinations.

Expanding to Nigeria and Ghana
In line with its vision to be an airline that exceeds customer expectations, Air Tanzania intends to extend its operations to the West African cities of Lagos and Accra. This would ease the movement of people, goods, and services in the African region.

Its activities in the eastern and southern parts of the continent are already fully established and operational.
Speaking back in 2019, the managing director of the airline, Ladislaus Matindi, explained Air Tanzania’s step-by-step approach as it spreads its wings to as many destinations as possible to improve customer experiences, saying, “We have a plan to expand in three phases; the first, within Tanzania to capture the domestic market and expand domestic destinations from three to twelve, two, regionally that includes having flights to Entebbe (Uganda), Bujumbura (Burundi), Kigali (Rwanda), (Lusaka) Zambia, Harare (Zimbabwe), (Lubumbashi) the Democratic Republic of Congo then finish with Johannesburg (South Africa) and the third phase, internationally to include destinations like Mumbai, Guangzhou.”

Matindi showed pride in the fact that most of the destinations in phases one to three were operational. However, they intended to open and serve fully in all the project phases by the end of 2019. He also mentioned that the multiphase plan had a provision for phases four and five. These stipulated interest in West Africa (Nigeria and Ghana), to be specific, and this was to be implemented before the end of the 2022.

“Our plan has the 4th and 5th phases where we intend to have flights to West African cities of Lagos and Accra by the end of 2022. This is when we expect to have more planes.”

READ: Aviation: East African Carrier, Air Tanzania To invest 468 billion shillings (about 200 million dollars) for 5 new aircraft, targets 16 operational aircraft by early 2023

Air Tanzania wants to implement its plan by taking to the West African skies soon. Who knows, maybe having operations in other cities in this region like Abuja, Abidjani, Dakar, and Freetown will be next on the airline’s to-do list too?

Foreseen benefits of the expansion
Aviation is one of the most global industries, connecting people, cultures, and businesses across continents. One of the industries that relies heavily on aviation is tourism. By expanding to Nigeria and Ghana, Air Tanzania hopes to facilitate tourism, thereby generating economic growth through trade, with expansion set to grow towards the Democratic Republic of Congo as well.

Direct flights to Nigeria and Ghana will allow traders to tap into Tanzania’s big economy and generally deepen bilateral relations. Tanzania and Ghana are already close economic partners, and encouraging such activity to extend to Nigeria too calls for a celebration in the economic sense. It will (with interconnectivity) continue to firmly revamp other flights that were previously canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It goes without saying that both economies will realize benefits in revenue and foreign capital investment benefits through this sort of new connectivity.

Air Tanzania takes pride in being “The Wings of Kilimanjaro” as its slogan goes. Travelers from West Africa will enjoy conveniently enjoy the treasures and soothing scenery of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Lake Victoria, wildlife and the beaches of Zanzibar. Fights from Tanzania to the West African cities will make traveling experiences smooth, and faster, and more, satisfying.

Autumn Bri, a travel vlogger, expressed disappointment in the bureaucratic procedures she had to endure on her flight from Ghana to Tanzania. She had to stop in Addis, and said that this wasted both time and money.

“We are getting ready to land in Ethiopia and have a connecting flight in about three hours… it’s been a day guys.”

She recorded this with utter frustration in one of her vlogs as she was about to land in Addis Ababa. More would-be excited travelers like Autumn Bri, think the project to have cheaper and faster connectivity from East to West Africa has been a long time coming and Air Tanzania intends to tackle the problem by taking its services to Nigeria and Ghana.

Resumptions and more expansions
Like most airlines around the world, Air Tanzania was forced to suspend flights at the height of the global health crisis two years ago and suffered significant losses in revenue as a result. The ‘Wings of Kilimanjaro’ have since taken to the skies again, as restrictions ease in an effort to recover from recent financial woes. The company announced in June that, in addition to South Africa, it would be resuming its flights to China following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

On 17th July, it restarted its Boeing 787 weekly service to Guangzhou, on Sundays. The Director of Africa Affairs from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Wu Peng, said Tanzania has opened a consulate in Guangzhou and is set to open another in Shanghai in an attempt to increase bilateral trade. The volume of such trade expanded by 47% in 2021.

There is also talk about Air Tanzania heading to London in the coming months, although details on the airport it intends to serve of the timing of such services remain scarce.

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